Mark Burnett, Roma Downey to Keynote Family Entertainment and Faith-Based Summit

Duo created History Channel's Bible miniseries

It was at last year’s summit that Mark Burnett and Roma Downey revealed footage of “The Bible,” a 10-hour miniseries that wound up becoming a ratings juggernaut and the most purchased TV-on-DVD release of all time.

One year later, the creators say they are humbled to be this year’s keynote speakers. “There’s a real poetry to return to where the first scenes of The Bible were shown, when we got such a strong initial reaction from those who saw it,” says Downey, who also plays Mother Mary in the series. “It opened an opportunity for dialogue and for families to discuss faith.”

Downey adds the pair “wanted to provide a version of the Bible that had gritty realism and an emotional heartbeat … making it feel contemporary and appeal to a 21st century audience.”

Burnett and Downey were passionate about bringing the stories to all demos. “It was made for everybody,” he says. “There was a predominance of viewers who enjoyed the story but never read the Bible; others who went to Bible school and were thrilled to be reminded of their childhood.”

Both believe the series was successful because it captivated audiences as a testimonial of faith and literature that permeates all aspects of American culture. “The Bible is the underpinning foundation of the nation,” says Burnett. “Without the Bible there wouldn’t have been an America. (The Bible) is also the foundation of storytelling. Without the Bible there would be no Shakespeare, no ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • A Quiet Place

    Why Dynamic Pricing for Movie Tickets Could Be a Tough Sell

    People aren’t going to the movies as much this summer. Are they staying away because the films are duds, or is it because tickets are getting too expensive? AMC is making a bet that cost, not quality, is behind the recent downturn. Last week, the country’s largest exhibitor announced it will be testing a new [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

  • Warner Records Names Claudia Butzky Senior

    Warner Records Names Claudia Butzky Senior VP of Brand Partnerships

    Warner Records has named Claudia Butzky senior vice president of brand partnerships, strategic marketing & commercial sync licensing, the company announced today. Based in Los Angeles, Butzky will report to Tom Corson, Co-Chairman & COO, Warner Records, and essentially will fill the role vacated by former EVP Lori Feldman, who left the company earlier this [...]

  • Kathleen FinchDiscovery Executive Session panel, TV

    Listen: Discovery's Kathleen Finch on How to Nurture Lifestyle Brands

    Kathleen Finch is a big believer in staying in your lane. Discovery’s chief lifestyle brands officer juggles a portfolio of 11 linear cable channels and their digital offshoots, from Food Network and HGTV to TLC and crime-centric Investigation Discovery. Many of Finch’s channels are defying the gravity of the moment in generating extremely high levels [...]

  • Big Hit Entertainment, Home to BTS,

    Big Hit Entertainment, Home to BTS, Posts Blockbuster Results for First Half of 2019

    South Korea’s Big Hit Entertainment, home to BTS, revealed its revenues for the first half of 2019 at an event called “Big Hit Corporate Briefing With the Community” held in Seoul today. The company posted record revenues of $166.3 million — just $12 million short of its revenues for all of 2018, according to analysis [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content